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World Cup 2014 - Steffen talks up important game

16 June 2014|Tottenham Hotspur

Steffen Freund has stressed the importance of a positive result for Germany in their World Cup opener against Portugal today.

Group G gets underway at 5pm with the much-fancied Germans taking on a talented Portuguese side in one of the most eagerly-anticipated group matches at the showpiece tournament in Brazil.

Former German international Steffen, who was in his country’s squad for the 1998 World Cup in France, expects a tough game this afternoon – and believes a good start is vital to ensuring progression into the latter stages of the competition.

“I think it’s the most important game in the group and the winner will win the group,” said Steffen, our former midfielder and current coach.

“Portugal looked really strong against Republic of Ireland when they won 5-1 last week. They had so much quality, especially in central midfield, and with Hugo Almeida on fire up front they have a lot of really good options.”

Steffen, 44, confirmed there’s a positive atmosphere among supporters in his homeland – in spite of a couple of recent wobbles in pre-tournament action.

“Everyone is excited, but we drew 2-2 against Cameroon recently and we left it late to go on and beat Armenia so we are not sure that we are in top form at the moment," he added.

“It’s a special game today because two of the biggest football countries are playing. It was the same with England against Italy and before it was Spain against Holland.

“It’s a really important game and the loser is under massive pressure afterwards.

“We all know that Germany is a team that’s getting stronger in tournaments. We are positive, we know that we can beat Portugal and if we win today it would be a massive step towards the last 16.”